Balance

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I’ve had to really juice out the time in a single day. Always so much to do, in such little time. The key question is, how do I juggle and keep entertaining without dropping it all?

When I talk about entertainment, I just mean finding ways to keep on keeping on. Back to my question then, isn’t it about balance? Well, let’s dive into the different aspects of balance that are important for us to keep juggling.

I’ve written something similar before on mind, body and soul. I’ll use that as a reference and remind myself of why that triangle is important.

Mind

The mind is one of the most extraordinary things in existence. It’s essentially a super-computer. You can process like a million things at once. But maybe that’s where a bit of the trouble lies; when we start taking on so much stimuli that it starts to distract us.

Fun fact about the brain: It takes up around 2% of our total mass but uses approximately 20% of the energy in our system. I think that kind of speaks to the level of complexity it has compared to the rest of our body.

The mind is like a muscle, it can be trained. That also means it needs to rest. We don’t usually accommodate enough time for rest though, especially in the rat race a lot of us find ourselves in. So what can we do to balance this leg of the trio? You should be able to guess that by now…

Meditate!

Last time, I spoke about the impact meditation has on our ability to concentrate. This time, I’m speaking about how it can be used to help us find calm, clarity and balance.

The thing about being mindful is that you focus on the present moment. You’re not getting lost in thought, worrying about the future or stressing about the past. You learn to breathe, accept, and let go. There can be different ways of doing this, journalling works wonders too. Find something that works best for you to stay present and keep at it. Your brain deserves it.

Dandelion seed, shallow focus

Body

Here’s something you might not have expected me to say about taking care of your body:

Sleep!

Sure, exercise is a fundamental aspect of taking care of your body. We’ve talked about that in enough detail before and I’m certain you know it too. But sleep is something we don’t pay enough attention to. I’m currently reading a book called ‘Why We Sleep’ by Matthew Walker. It’s what inspired me to emphasize the importance of sleep.

Did you know that the process of transferring short-term memories from the hippocampus into long-term storage in the neocortex occurs during sleep? Specifically, during the deep phases of NREM sleep.

This means that sleep protects newly acquired information (a process called consolidation), enables us to remember better, enhances our ability to learn, accelerates physical recovery, stimulates muscle recovery and helps our cells restock energy.

The catch here, is that you need to sleep for at least 7 hours a night. If you’re sleeping for 6 hours or less, you’re essentially depriving your body of a vital recovery process. Have you ever heard anyone say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”?

Well, the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life span (and the quality of that life). I wouldn’t recommend pulling too many all-nighters.

I encourage you to take your sleeping routine more seriously. Pay attention not just to the quantity, but the quality too. Stick to a consistent time to go to bed and wake up every night. Take 20 minute naps during the day whenever possible. It will genuinely enhance your overall performance.

http://clipartmag.com/images/cartoon-pictures-of-people-sleeping-46.png

Soul

We’ve learned a little about how to balance the mind and body, but what happens when we add another ball to juggle? Harmony I would hope. The final piece of the puzzle is to look after your soul. This is probably the hardest aspect to keep in check, because it has to do with your purpose.

In order to find acceptance in the chaos, we need to live with intention. We need to realize how temporary we truly are. We need to detach and stop clinging onto materialistic desires. For some people, religious practices are what keeps their soul balanced. This is true for me, as I am a practicing Muslim. For others, it might be something different.

The point is to find a way to serve others. To express yourself in a way that contributes to the greater good. To be disciplined and authentic to your true self. To understand that it’s no coincidence that you’re here. You’re exactly where you are meant to be and for a specific reason. Realize that you matter and that you make a difference.

We don’t have a choice as to whether or not we want to play. We do have a choice as to how we decide to play. Juggling through the game of life is not going to be easy, but it is going to be worth it. As long as we remember to take out some time to relax our mind and be present, take better care of our sleep and live with the intention to serve others.

“The only guarantee for failure is to stop trying.”

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